By EW Staff
Updated May 24, 2007 at 08:00 PM EDT

Despite all the focus on Jordin Sparks, it’s important to remember the friends we’ve made along the way. Do you recall season 6 Idol wannabe Ian Benardo? Well, it appears that not making it past that British a–hole/dodo bird/whatever your insult preference, and on to those three syllables, Hol-ly-wood, or New Jersey with celebrities, did not stop Mr. Benardo, who really has been hard at work becoming a superstar.

The incomparable Benardo has cut an EP featuring a saucy new cover of his audition tune, “Gloria.” Also worth checking out is the Benardo original “Better Than You” featuring the boast “You hate me ’cause I’m beautiful/You hate me ’cause I’m rich/You hate me ’cause I took your friends/You hate me, life’s a bitch.” (You really must listen to both tunes.) It’s good to see that Ian can add songwriter to his already impressive skill-set as a singer and dancer.

Benardo is obviously not the first American Idol reject to cut a CD — we all can recall the indellible William Hung — but he may be the most confident. That’s really the difference betweenthe two performers. It was Hung’s naivete that made for such perfectmusical comedy, while it is Bernardo’s cockiness that underlies theridiculousness of his recording. Benardo sings with such braggadociothat he can’t help but be funny.

And he has to know that, right? I mean, there’s no way he’s not in onthe joke, right? Tell me he’s in on the joke. Or else, well, this wouldjust be really funny. Still. There’s no way this isn’t funny.

So what do you think PopWatchers? Is Ian singing with tongue firmlyimplanted in cheek? (That would explain the thick accent.) Does he havea long career ahead of him? Is he better than you? Will you buy his CD?